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1967 – 1981
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Article last edited by archibald on
December 11th, 2012
French Communist Party Headquarters Change this
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Oscar Niemeyer was commissioned by the French Communist Party to design their new office Headquarters in Paris after he relocated to Europe in 1964. The buildings intent is based on letting it "breathe" with the city and not break the site. This is materialized in the occupation of land under the ground level, generating spaces underground that pop back up in the forecourt.
The design was divided into parts, firstly plaza contains an auditorium and exhibition hall which is fraught on undulating ground below street level. A key feature being a dome made of reinforced concrete that forms the gently curving roof to the auditorium and shapes a visible tapered, spherical dome that emerges above ground in the square. Its radius and height are 11 meters. This ground floor is open-ended and the spaces are visible only through the experience of its interior. The gently curved roof together casts a new topography of the square above.
Accompanying the subterranean auditorium, is a six story tower, again with an undulating form, which mirrors the surrounding neighborhood forms, and working in symbiosis with the auditorium dome. The tower rests on five pillars that create an appearance of lightness. The building houses offices and a restaurant. The tower consists of glass curtain walls that evoke openness, this works in opposition to the sub-levels which are cavernous and enveloping.
"It was the whole, or rather, was the relationship between volumes and open spaces, so often forgotten, which I respected." Niemeyer wrote.
A lasting element to this building, is the way that it uses architecture to create an integrated urban space with the whole site.